Having a firm grasp of the basics, I may have bit off more than I can chew when I picked up a pretty, red book. The cover was simple but pleasing, and filled with many happy recipes. This resulted in my wanting to cook all the things when I checked out The Epicurious Cookbook: more than 250of our best-loved four-fork recipes for weeknights, weekends & specialoccasions, by Tanya Wenman Steel.
Epicurious.com was created 20 years ago. It originally started as an online recipe database, but quickly grew into a premiere website for food-lovers. Epicurious still has an amazing database boasting over 200,000 recipes, both from editors as well as reader submissions. They also have an online community, and food-related advice and articles. A few years ago, the editors mined that wealth for 250 of their best recipes for your perusal in The Epicurious Cookbook.
This is a beautiful book, filled with amazing pictures. The recipes are ingeniously organized by season, with heartier fare for winter and cooler foods for summer. They are then broken down by types of food, be it breakfast, main dishes, or more. These are mature recipes for mature palates. That is not to say that the techniques are any harder, or that exotic ingredients are involved. In fact, Steel and the editors made a concentrated effort to pull recipes that with assorted levels of difficulty, from novice to expert. The flavors are simply more varied and complex.
If you have a favorite food, there is likely an upscaled version featured in The Epicurious Cookbook. Like grilled cheese sandwiches? There is an Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Instead of rotisserie chicken, check out the Peruvian baked chicken. Have you ever tried duck pizza, or pesto lasagna? Give your taste buds a change of pace!
For more cookbooks that cull recipes from communities, check out The Way We Cook: portraits from around the world, by Saveur, or One Big Table:a portrait of American cooking: 600 recipes from the nation's best home cooks,farmers, fishermen, pit-masters, and chefs, by Molly O’Neill.